Let them mess up the wall.

My initial reaction to this “fort” was frustration at the not insignificant amount of tape on the wall. Then i thought about it for a minute and realized that my tape on the wall days are almost gone forever. I took a deep breath, left the room, and inside that fort were a highly compromised laptop computer, the nice pillows, a Labradoodle and 2 almost no longer little girls… These are the best days. Paint the house later.


Advice from grandpa Joe.

I’ve been thinking about my grandpa Joe Padawer lately. He was 53 years older than me and one of my best friends. Imagine a tall, handsome southern gentleman who grew up in the depression with very little money, self-made advertising executive in the 1950’s, extremely self-confident, dry often inappropriate wit, and with Jedi-like abilities to get right to the heart of a situation melting away the BS. A few pieces of advice he gave me, that I pass on to all of you that I have lived by… (1) “Half a watermelon is better than a whole grape.” (2) “1 truth is more powerful than 1,000 lies.” (3) “Don’t wish my life away.” The first quote is about compromise. The second is about integrity. The third is about empathy. I was studying for a test, and I said, “I wish it were over.” He asked me, “when is the test?” I told him, “2 weeks.” He replied, “Don’t wish my life away.” He passed years ago and there is just no doubt he would warmly embrace the concept of social media as it mirrors what we already know — we are all connected.


I need to get something off my chest, and I’m willing to accept the ramifications. As an owner of a toy company, we are subjected to something every single year mid-Q3. Santa skims approximately 6.5% of our inventory and pays us in “good cheer” which (from what I can gather) is a mix of karma, prayers and good wishes. It starts as a tremendous honor. Nice to be recognized by Santa and his elves. Startup toy companies don’t tend to have much on children’s wish lists, but as a company grows, the skim cuts deeper. It strains the profitability of the industry, and explains the historical profit underperformance of the sector versus other large consumer packaged goods companies. I only mention this now, because the Elves’ shakedown (or tickle-down as they call it) this year was particularly fun but left us dizzy and a little nauseous. This was compounded by a completely unexpected call from the Chanukah Fairies, who appear to be equally cheerful, fewer in number versus the Elves, but HIGHLY motivated with 8 days to fill. Adding in the Elves on Shelves, Menches on Benches and other new magical creatures, we could be subjected to as much as 9-10% inventory losses in 2016! Ultimately, this impacts you the consumer — as we, the manufacturers, raise our wholesale price to the stores, who, in turn, charge you a higher retail. I should also mention that Santa’s “good cheer” comes in a tangible form. It’s the golden dust left behind as Santa visits homes. By December this dust is entirely benign with little magical qualities but a sparkle and glimmer but when Santa and his elves create this dust early Q3 (before visiting us for the tickle-down), it is extraordinarily potent. Inhaling a single particle of this dust in September can charm an entire team of people into handing over said inventory and then forgetting entirely. I didn’t inhale this year. I feel that it’s my duty to make you aware of this, and as I write this I can hear the Elves approaching over the horizon with dust in hand… I won’t remember any of this tomorrow.

My Washington Post interview – Gender Roles in toys

The Washington Post interviewed me about gender roles in toys (article below). I prefer the term “gender tendencies” over gender roles. A role in my opinion is something you are pre-ordained to play, and it’s just too limiting. Boys and girls tend to be attracted to certain play-patterns and themes. For instance, boys have a tendency to be attracted to conflict play; Girls have a tendency to gravitate toward nurturing play. With that said, if we support our children’s talents, desires, preferences regardless of whether it is in lock-step with the traditional gender tendency, we will have happier children.

The dog is an optimist

Our dog, Oswald, is an optimist. He pooped on the floor late last night in what I imagine to be a confused and panicked state of dog-not-feeling-welledness-everyone-asleepedness. As I systematically addressed the situation this morning, scrubbing the floor clear of dog pie, Oswald’s cold nose tapped my left earlobe as a yellow tennis ball dropped from his mandible literally millimeters from the meadow muffin. I did not throw the ball, but I will embrace the spirit of the moment, and communicate to you what I think Oswald would say if he were able to post on Facebook.. Glancing to the left and staring into his saucer-like, benevolent, culpable eyes, the message was clear-ish, “Don’t let a little s**t get in the way of your dreams.” My dear friends, have a wonderful December and holiday season, and listen to your inner Oswald.

A realist at age 6.

My youngest daughter (6), a budding realist, on her upcoming air travel… Joelle: “What happens if we crash?” …Me: “I’ve flown thousands of times. I’ve never come close to crashing.” …Daughter: “But, what if we do?” …Me: “Then I will hold you, and love you, and love you.” …Daughter: “UNTIL WE DIE??!”

Conversations with big wig newspapers

Had very candid conversations with the Wall Street Journal and Washington Post today. 10 months out of the year, these folks are focused on war, famine, politics, religion and the like… The other 2 months the focus shifts to robots, dinosaurs, superheroes, fairies, princesses, mermaids, spring loaded missile launchers and blasters. It’s the most wonderful time of the year.

Wicked Cool Toys – Hot 50 Kidscreen Company

Wow. Here’s something that doesn’t happen everyday. Wicked Cool Toys is named as 1 of 3 toy companies in the Kidscreen Hot 50 companies for 2015. The others are LEGO and Spin Master. This falls under the old adage “always good to be the smallest house in the best neighborhood.”


How we will all die.

Bad news. This morning, my youngest daughter (6) revealed how the world will end. “God will create an alien. That alien will have babies, babies, babies, babies, babies.” My oldest daugther’s (8) eyes were like saucers. The youngest, now calming responded, “but it won’t happen for thousands of years. You’ll be dead.” Good morning everybody!